* Short-lived stoppage did not affect refining operations
* Workers obtain pay increases upwards of 40 percent
* Expansion project will more than double capacity
BOGOTA, Sept 23 Construction workers were due to
return to work at Colombia's Cartagena oil refinery later on
Monday after agreeing to a pay increase, their union said, a
deal that ends a three-day strike that did not affect refining
U.S.-listed CB&I, or Chicago Bridge and Iron Co, a
third-party contractor in charge of a $6.47 billion expansion
will increase wages between 40 and 100 percent, said Rodolfo
Vecino, head of the USO oil industry labor union.
The refinery, Reficar, fully-owned by Colombia's state-run
oil company Ecopetrol will raise refining capacity on
completion of the project in 2015, to 165,000 barrels per day
from 80,000 as crude output creeps up. That will help Ecopetrol
reach target refining capacity by then of 650,000 barrels a day.
"We reached a $104.5 million deal for salary increases,"
Vecino said of the pay deal which is valid for two years.
The stoppage was the first in the country's oil sector in
nine years, though labor disruption has been widespread this
year in the country's coal mining sector, with weeks-long
stoppages at the two biggest producers of the mineral.
"It was a deal which enabled the project to continue without
causing significant delays to the timetable," a source at
Colombia's biggest refinery, Barrancabermeja, is in the
central province of Santander and has a refining capacity of
250,000 barrels of oil daily.